Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald is welcoming Greg Rickford as the new minister for Indigenous Affairs. In a prepared statement, Archibald says she's also looking forward to working with the new government on health care and social issues.

“As the MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Minister Rickford is by far the best choice to work with our Peoples. He has worked as a nurse and lawyer in our communities and has a deep knowledge and understanding of our Peoples and the issues," she said in a prepared statement issued yesterday.

Rickford was named as the minister responsible for northern development and mines, as well as energy and Indigenous Affairs.

Archibald was chosen to lead the Chiefs of Ontario last week. She was previously the deputy grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

"As the new Regional Chief, and with a new government, there is an opportunity to begin a brand new relationship based upon a heart-centred, peaceful approach.  To paraphrase Premier Ford today, we must do better for our Peoples. Together, we will continue to walk along the path of Reconciliation,” Archibald continued.

However, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation said joining Indigenous Affairs with Energy and Northern Development sends the wrong message.

"NAN First Nations are fully prepared and committed to defending their homelands and assert their rightful jurisdictions and authority," he said in a prepared statement issued yesterday.

"It is difficult to see how progress can continue to be made when our interests are reduced to only be of importance insofar as they relate to the government’s ability to access the resources within our lands. This government is advised that any effort to undermine the Treaty, ancestral or territorial rights of NAN First Nations will be decisively fought at both the political and legal levels," the message noted.

For more information:

Rickford joins Ford cabinet